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My “Born Again … Again” Article in Christianity Today

March 27, 2010

My four-page article in the March issue of Christianity Today (our staff is joking about “the Chris Rice centerfold”) is now posted on-line – “Born Again … Again.”  The subtitle, “In my ministry of racial reconciliation, I had to move from a culture of effort to a culture of grace.”

I begin with the story (first blogged here) of a life-changing paradigm shift that took place in our Christian community in Mississippi 12 years ago.  Our gospel had largely become one of trying harder and doing more.  And this is not a gospel of good news because it is primarily about our action and not God’s.  As our culture of demands was interrupted by a “culture of grace” it was, as Spencer Perkins said at the time, “like going back to kindergarten.”

I reflect on four ways this breakthrough has reshaped my understanding of what it means to work for reconciliation in a divided world:

It means to recognize that reconciliation is God’s gift; it does not begin with our activism …

It means working for justice with a spirit of mercy …

It means understanding that conversion by grace takes time and does not leave us standing complacently where we are …

Pursuing racial reconciliation in grace means to journey toward holiness …

In The Habit of Being Flannery O’Connor writes, “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.”  So true.   Yet beautifully painful I would add, Good Friday on the way to Easter, a journey toward new life.

I’d love to hear your comments about the Christianity Today article.

About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.  He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. His writes regularly at the blog Reconcilers with Chris Rice.

Related Reconcilers Posts: Celebrating “Grace Day”: From Trying Harder and Doing More to a Culture of Grace

Also See:  Playing the Grace Card by Spencer Perkins in Christianity Today, 1998

Last 5 Posts on the Reconcilers Blog:

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2010 7:47 pm

    I thought it was a great article. I forwarded it on to several people. While it is expressly about racial reconciliation, it is really about the grace that should be shown in the church. Particularly now I am having issues with people in our church (of different political persuasions) not giving one another grace. This is a good example of how to show the way toward grace over a multitude of sins.

  2. Matt Scott permalink
    March 28, 2010 1:06 am

    Great article, Chris. We need to hear the very clear words of Jesus in Matthew 5 that “Blessed are the poor in spirit” means “Blessed are the pathetic, undeserving, broken, burned-out, failed, bitter, and forsaken.”

  3. Allegra Jordan permalink
    March 28, 2010 7:24 am

    Chris, what a timely reminder. In the academic calendar, April and November are months of heavy lifting: planning, teaching, counseling, budgeting, anticipating. When I read your post I remembered about all the friction points of this past week and thought of those in the weeks to come and relaxed. Mercy, grace can abound if I let them in this beautifully painful time.

  4. April 12, 2010 1:04 pm

    Chris, I was so heartened to see the grey-haired you (at nearly 50!) conveying the message that reconciliation is after all (and before all) about the love of God becoming personally real among us at the sink in the flesh. It was great; it was the truth in love, and I’m glad you are the witness and the minister of that grace. Indisputable!

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